I do not often take the time to write reviews, as I read so many books that the project would be overwhelming. However, having just finished The Guns of August, I feel compelled to comment. In this audiobook, the narrator, Nadia May, gave one of the most masterful performances I think I have ever heard. She switched among characters from Russia, Britain, France, and Germany, giving each a believable accent while also pronouncing names of numerous characters, regions, and cities in four different countries without any hesitation whatsoever in her narration. Being a new student to World War I, and lacking a comprehensive understanding of European geography, I found myself occasionally totally lost during the passages describing military movements, but I never ceased enjoying the reader's treatment of this very well-written account of the early days of World War I.
Audiobook may not be the best way to read this book because there are so many names, and so many places, that you really want to have easy access to a map. Other than that, it's a fascinating exploration of the utter ineptitude of all the leadership of the armies in the first weeks of WWI. One comes away with the feeling that so much life was lost largely because of utterly blinkered Generals and Field Marshals sticking to plans that were irrelevant and untenable. And, when things didn't go their way, they blamed the underlings who they had sent out as cannon fodder. Proof that war and the men who wage it are ridiculous.
Recent convert to audio books and have never "read" as much as I have in the last 6 months
Great book. Listeners will benefit from a basic knowledge of WW1 and a map.
If you're only going to read one book on Military history, this is a good choice. Guns of August covers the build up to WWI and the first several months of combat. Despite the complexity of it all, Tuchman does a fantastic job keeping everything straight. From the social and political attitudes across Europe to the German and French military plans, you couldn't ask for a clearer history that retains its depth.
That said, I'd really recommend reading this as opposed to listening to the audiobook. Like many Blackstone narrators, Nadia May does a fine job, but this is still a fairly complex book and unless you're really paying attention it can be easy to get lost in the details. In either event, this is still very recommended. Enjoy!
it was amazing the tone and pase of the war was felt. don't speak French so that was difficult but only in short spurts and the odd quote here and there
Barbara Tuchman has written a series of informative & entertaining sagas. But the capstone of her works is this book to simplify the myriad of details across the globe as World War One emerges from the confused events across the Balkans & Europe. Worth reviewing several times in a life.
The Guns of August does an excellent job of digging into not only the events of the First World War, but the train of events that led up to them. Commanders' decisions and perceptions, odd turns of fate, miscommunications, and chance encounters all spiral together into familiar battles.The author manages to create tension and anticipation of events whose outcomes are already known.
A book that focuses on the people, movements and thoughts of the major players at the beginning of WW1. A great book that deserves its reputation.